Skip to content
Subscriber Only

Offshore Oil’s $105 Billion Hangover Adding to Industry Woes

  • High cost to shut older wells in North Sea, U.S. Gulf, Brazil
  • With low oil prices, many offshore wells become money losers
offshore oil rig
Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg
Updated on

Aging offshore oil wells that once brought market prominence to Europe, the U.S. Gulf and Brazil are increasingly money losers that companies want shut down amid low oil prices and a struggling global economy. But the effort won’t be cheap.

The cost worldwide: An estimated $104.5 billion by 2030, according to Wood Mackenzie Ltd. At least 23 platforms a year could be retired in the North Sea alone, Rystad Energy Inc. reported in May, while the national oil company in Brazil has said it’s planning to spend $6 billion to retire 18 platforms, pipelines and other infrastructure by 2025.